Hanukah: The little things matter

Tammy Pinkerton

Hanukah is a minor holiday, but offers major lessons in survival.

This  small, itty bitty holiday, teaches huge lessons in survival, during turbulent times. When people of all religions are locked in our homes, due to a global pandemic, that has attacked worldwide, the story of Hanukah can help.

Historically, December is a time period when many experience depression and anxiety. 

It’s cold, the holiday  season is here, and we remember friends and family who have disappeared.  While our world has been fragmented for a long time, this year, it’s worse.

Businesses have shut down. Many are hungry and cold. Numerous isolated from family and friends. Some afraid death will knock on another’s door. We are a world living in fear.

As long as I can remember, Hanukah a small, minor holiday, celebrated with a menorah, compared to Christmas, a big, major holiday, observed with a huge tree, has seemed insignificant. 

The story of Hanukah is seemingly meaningless, compared to the birth of the savior of the world. An account about an oil lamp staying lit for eight days instead of one, is seemingly ho hum. 

Or is it?

The menorah stayed lit for 8 days instead of 1. A minority defeated a majority in war. All the cards were stacked against the few, and yet they beat the many. The lights were supposed to dimmer out, but they stayed on.

We believed we had enough oil to last one day, but we lasted eight. We received more than expected. Lighting a candelabra each day reminds us of that miracle.

Did it really matter that we were given extra light?  Ask the people who have been living in America  this year with power outages, what they think about extra light. Then ask the people who can’t afford to pay the electric bill.

Retailers hardly get excited about the eight days of Hanukah to boost the bottom line. The majority of Jews are not rushing into the shopping mall purchasing the newest gadget. This year nobody is rushing anywhere. We are engaged silently in a war, against a silent virus calamity that has struck world wide.  The virus is major. It has darkened the world. We the people are minor sources of light, barely flickering to stay on.

We need extra light. Each day that we light the menorah, reminds us that it is extra light, that keeps us alive, and helps us survive.

God granted us extra light, because the oil held in the container had been properly sealed. It wasn’t contaminated with dirt and grime. It didn’t leak. We protected what we had.  We weren’t wasteful, and valued our resources. The lessons learned during Hanukah, can help us survive, coupled with a miracle from God.

Yes, the story of Hanukah, is about the miracle of extra light, gained through protecting resources, and a miracle from God, in a battle when a few beat the many in war.

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